SOME eight million workers are living below the poverty threshold brought about by imbalance between current daily minimum wage and rising cost of living, according to the biggest confederation of labor groups in the country.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa), through spokesman Alan Tanjusay, on Sunday warned of serious social implications if the problem is not acted upon with dispatch.
“We are raising a red alert warning to the employers and government to immediately address the disparity between minimum standard required for a family to survive and the current real value of the highest minimum wage. The wage boards must convene immediately to bring quality relief for workers who had been unable to cope with rising cost of living due to inadequate salary,” Tanjusay said.
He added that poor wage results in labor output of low quality because workers bear with poor nutrition and stressful environment.
“If this low quality of life is not acted upon, there will be more perpetrators and victims of all sorts of crimes, more Filipinos would opt to work abroad and a host of social problems will arise,” Tanjusay said.
Citing figures from the National Wages and Productivity Commission, he pointed out that the daily minimum wage of P481 for workers in Metro Manila is now only worth P364.12 a day, excluding salary deductions for Social Security System, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth premiums.
The government’s poverty threshold standard daily amount needed for a family to cope with cost of living is P417 a day while the current nominal minimum wage is P481.
But the real value of the highest minimum wage is P315.56 per day, he added.
Thus, the amount needed by a family for a month is P12,517 while the real wage equivalent value is P9,467 or a minimum wage earner needs at least P3,050 more to rise above the poverty level threshold.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the National Economic and Development Authority fixed the 2015 standard poverty threshold amounting to P12,517 a month.
The government defines poverty threshold as the minimum income required for a family of five to meet basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute including non-food needs such as clothing, housing, transportation, health and education expenses to ensure that one remains economically and socially productive.
The TUCP last week filed a P154 increase in daily wage for workers in Metro Manila on top of the nominal daily wage of P481.
In the Labor Force Survey released by the PSA last March, the estimated number of workers whose wage value fell below poverty threshold standard reached 7.879 million.